Ringleader of feral family gang in attack is locked-up
THE ringleader of a "feral" family gang who attacked a family in their home has been locked up for 13 months.
Joseph Richards threw a brick through a window, launching an assault on a couple and their teenage son.
A judge told Richards the Mewtons were doing nothing more than "minding their own business" and watching television.
Judge Paul Darlow sent the 20-year-old to a young offender institution for 56 weeks.
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Richards, of King Street, in Stonehouse, had earlier admitted violent disorder in Southway on November 17, 2010.
It followed an attack on the Mewton family, carried out with four brothers and sisters.
Lianne Richards, aged 32 and from Alger Walk, Southway, Toni Richards, 21, Bethany Richards, 20, and 17-year-old Matthew Richards, all of Budshead Road, had each admitted the same offence.
A third man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, also pleaded guilty to violent disorder.
Members of the Richards clan punched and kicked Dean and Kirstine Mewton and grabbed Ashley by the hair, Plymouth Crown Court was told at that hearing. Mr Mewton was left with a broken jaw.
Judge Darlow, handing the siblings a mixture of suspended prison sentences, unpaid work and curfews, described the family as a "feral pack".
He told Joseph Richards at his delayed sentencing hearing: "I sentence you as the person who instigated the whole thing by throwing a brick through a window with a family inside who were minding their own business and watching television.
"When that elicits a response from the people inside you square up to them and in the violence that follows, you were in the thick of it."
The court was told at an earlier hearing that the incident blew up as a result of a dispute between the Mewtons and Lianne Richards, their neighbour in Alger Walk.
The Crown Prosecution Service said the family was gathered at her house for her 31st birthday party when the attack was launched.
Neighbours then intervened to help, but found themselves under attack as well.
Nick Lewin, for Richards, said: "This is a single act of stupidity borne out of a confused mind. He has demonstrated an ability to stay out of trouble."
He added Richards had not committed any offence since the incident two years ago.
Mr Lewin said that he had life-long attention deficit disorder but was no longer medicated. He added that his life would be blighted by detention but he had the chance to progress in the community.
Mr Mewton, who was punched and kicked on the ground by several of the siblings, called them the "family from hell" after the others were sentenced.
Mrs Mewton, who was kicked by one of the brothers as she lay on the ground, said after Joseph was jailed: "I have mixed emotions. My anger is at all of them. We just have to try and move on and get on with our lives."